Rehabilitation for Low Back Pain

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Rehabilitation for Low Back Pain

Low back pain is a common problem that affects millions of individuals across the globe. It can occur due to a variety of different causes and requires prompt treatment. Untreated cases can have a significant impact on the patient’s movement and quality of life. Once a patient has been diagnosed with low back pain and the cause has been identified, treatment must be administered as soon as possible and the patient must start a rehabilitation program that can help reduce the symptoms. In this article, we shall take a brief look at this rehabilitation.

Causes of Low Back Pain

Before diving into back pain management, it is important to identify the different causes of low back pain. While this can vary from individual to individual, the most common causes include a muscle sprain or a ligament strain, intervertebral disc prolapse, paraspinal muscle spasm, fracture of the vertebrae in individuals prone to this (for example, patients who suffer from osteoporosis) and other conditions such as spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis. Once a diagnosis has been made, patients may be offered different types of treatments that range from over-the-counter painkillers to physical therapy. Once the symptoms have resolved, patients can start a rehabilitation program.

Rehabilitation Program

Rehabilitation for low back pain primarily involves exercise therapy. Contrary to popular belief, low back pain does not resolve in the long term through rest but in fact only results if patients commence a strict exercise program.

The key to any exercise program is to utilize not just one group of muscles but almost all groups of muscles that are involved in movements of the lower back. The ultimate goal is to reduce back pain and prevent future occurrences. The back muscles include not just the flexors and extensors but also the rotator muscles.

Stretching and Strengthening

Stretching forms an integral part of low back pain management. The focus of these exercises must be on enhancing the muscle flexibility along with the plasticity and flexibility of the intervertebral discs, tendons and other ligaments. Not only must the muscles in the affected area be exercised but also the surrounding area as well, as these can reinforce the overall strength of the low back. Strengthening exercises are also important in the rehabilitation phase. Various exercises have been described such as the lumbar stabilization exercise and the Mackenzie exercise; all of these are aimed at stabilizing the spine and increasing the strength of the paraspinal muscles and intervertebral ligaments.

Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic exercises in the management of low back pain include water therapy, stationary exercise biking and simple walking. Aquatic therapy involves simple exercises that are performed in a swimming pool that do not place a great deal of stress on the muscles but help strengthen them remarkably. Other aerobic exercises also help by conditioning the spinal muscles and ligaments.


Rehabilitation therapy is extremely important in the management of low back pain. It is usually offered in various stages following a detailed assessment of the patient’s capabilities by a physical therapist. Treatments can take a period of time but long-term outcomes are very good as long as the strategies continue to be observed.